Summer’s fast approaching, and for many that means making plans for the traditional family getaway at the beach, mountains or with distant relatives. For most it means packing the kids, luggage, coolers and equipment into the family vehicle and hitting the highways.
Smart families know they should get their vehicles checked out beforehand to help ensure worry-free summer travel. But today’s busy schedules leave little time for backyard, do-it-yourself tinkering.
Here is some advice on locating a good repair establishment from the pros at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, the group that tests and certifies automotive professionals:
* Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.
* Ask your friends and associates for their recommendations; consult local consumer groups.
* Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location.
* Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
* Look for a courteous staff, with a service consultant willing to answer questions.
* Look for policies regarding estimated repair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.
* Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.
* Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area, such as civic, community or customer service awards.
* Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced courses and ASE certification. Also look for the ASE sign.
ASE was founded in1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of auto service professionals.
Approximately 400,000 professionals hold current ASE credentials. They can be found at every type of repair business, such as independent garages, dealerships, franchised outlets and collision shops. Certified technicians wear blue and white ASE insignia or pins, while their employers often display their technicians’ ASE credentials in the customer service area and post the ASE sign on the premises.